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Richmond baseball diamond could get $520,000 upgrade

Richmond city council approved its capital and operating budgets, but it will come back to a final vote next week.
Coun. Alexa Loo is pushing for improvements to the baseball diamond at Brighouse Park.

It looks like the proposed tax increase of 5.62 per cent for Richmond property owners – an average of $116 per home – is holding.

City council passed four budgets – library, operating, capital and one-time expenditures – at its finance committee meeting Monday, but there were some tweaks suggested that could come back to the final vote next week, including $520,000 to improve a city centre baseball diamond.

Coun. Alexa Loo asked whether the in-field turf at a baseball diamond at Brighouse Park, earmarked to be improved in 2025, could instead be done next year.

She noted it’s one of the top priorities on the sports needs assessment, and it was already identified as such in 2011.

Loo said baseball is increasing in Richmond and the improved diamond could also be used for softball and men's fastpitch. Furthermore, the baseball diamond at Steveston Park has been shut down.

The cost of the in-field turf is a “small amount,” Loo added, and it would “activate the park.”

“It creates a more community atmosphere in the park so it’s maybe less amenable for less community activities in the park,” Loo told city council on Monday.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie noted there was little information about the baseball facility in the budget package and highlighted the cost.

“It’s been described as a ‘small amount’ notwithstanding it’s a half a million dollars,” Brodie said.

In the end, he asked city staff to bring back more information to next week’s council meeting when it can be revisited during the final vote on the budget.

Some of the items approved on Monday include almost $1.8 million for improvements to the No. 5 Road RCMP headquarters, $1.9 million to do envelope work and other renovations to Fire Hall No. 7, $3.1 million for upgrades to the curling club and $4.3 million for Steveston and South Arm outdoor pools.  

The RCMP will also get a new mobile command centre that can be used by Richmond Fire-Rescue, BC Ambulance, public works and the coast guard as well. This will cost about $1.8 million.  

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